cloudy & clear

Photo by Justin Fricke (@JustinLFricke)

Photo by Justin Fricke (@JustinLFricke)

A year ago, I flew from Austin to Manchester, New Hampshire.
I didn’t even know that was a place.
We drove through the evening to Wal-Mart parking lot in Maine, where we would sleep for the evening.
The next morning we woke up and headed to Acadia National Park.
Justin said he had a hike for us to do.
I asked what kind of hike it was and he told me to trust him and to not worry. 
I thought we would be walking through the woods, but Justin had a different idea.
We started out walking among the trees and up through a rocky field of boulders before we arrived at the side of a massive mountain.

I looked up and down at the beast, my eyes tracing a thin zig-zag trail all the way up the top.

There were iron rungs sticking out of the side of mountain for us to pull ourselves up on.

I felt nerves course throughout my body, sweat began to swell and fall from my brow.

Fear snuck in.
Fear sunk in.

There were thin boards between cracks in the side of the mountain to bridge gaps between breaks.

One wrong step would be our last step.

I walked slowly between Justin and Adam.
Justin is an experienced climber and I’ve never seen Adam trip before.
I once tripped walking up the stairs and fell all the way down them.

Together, we climbed higher and higher.

Every few steps I told myself not to look down, but I would.

The view, as terrifying as it was, was simply gorgeous.

White clouds passed over us and below the sun as they cast a graceful shadow across the forest of green tree peaks.

The tops of the trees felt a mile away, a beautiful backdrop for what could be the final moment of all my breathing.

I was no longer among the trees, but above them.

I paused for a moment, taking in the view, with a deep breath, wishing you could see what I was seeing.

Beauty is hard to find or enjoy when fear is present.

But it's there.

My fear steadily subsided as we continued to the mountaintop.

Confidence and faith kept me going, erasing the halting feeling within.

I’m learning fear doesn't stand a chance when we call it out and face it together.

We were together, heading towards the end.
And it was scary.
And hard.
And at times uneventful.
And at times thrilling.
It was an adventure that felt a lot like life.

And we finally reached the mountaintop.

I hate heights, but I love the summit.
Justin and Adam sat down with their legs hanging over the side of the mountain and I slowly joined them.
We looked out and everything was cloudy and everything was clear.
Face to face with His beauty.

And as I look back, I see much more clearly.

Tanner Olson